Quality fish offshore
  |  First Published: May 2012

The offshore fishing continues to produce plenty of quality fish and it looks like we are in for another bumper month this May as the estuary and freshwater species start to respond to the change in seasons. 

On a recent outing with Ballarat identity Dean Candy we managed a mixed bag of fish which included snapper, gummy shark, squid, flathead and King George whiting. Gummy sharks and snapper are continually showing up in angler’s catches when fishing over reef patches in 40m plus of water.

Fresh fish baits or squid have been doing all the damage but by far the most important thing to look out for is the slack water period of the tide. Anglers concentrating their efforts around the tide changes have found that the fish really fire up when the flow is at its lowest. Once the tide starts running move your boat out over the sand flats and drift around in search of flathead.

Using the same baits and rig (paternoster) as you do for snapper and gummies you should have no trouble putting some big specimens in your boat.

By the time May rolls around the southern bluefin tuna should be off Apollo Bay in large enough numbers to warrant a trip out wide of Cape Otway. This time last year saw plenty of 100kg plus fish taken off Apollo Bay but I’d be expecting 15-30kg to be an average fish if this season turns out to be a ‘normal’ year.

At the time of writing several reports of tuna being sighted have already come to hand so early indications are of a bumper tuna season ahead.

The river estuaries will fire up this month with both bream and trout feeding ferociously as more frequent rains keep the water levels topped up. When chasing bream try to fish when the river mouth is open to the ocean as the bream love the water moving in or out. If the incoming tide is pushing up clean saltwater then fish down low in the system over the shallow sand flats as the water rises.

As the tide is dropping, fish up higher in the system around the reed and grass edges as all the bait gets flushed out with the receding water. Both bait and lures will catch bream when fishing the tidal flows so choose whichever method best suits your fishing style.

The top of the estuary systems and up into the freshwater reaches will see the trout feeding up before their annual spawning run. Again both bait and lures will catch trout but my favourite technique is to use small soft plastic lures such as the Berkley 3” Power Minnow. Casting upstream I slowly wind the lure back with the current giving it some small twitches. The trout find these irresistible if used correctly but as stated before plenty of other methods will also work so choose one that you feel comfortable with.

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